The number of murder cases in Scotland has dropped to the lowest level on record, a new report showed this week.
Homicide in Scotland 2013-14, which is compiled from police figures, reveals that there were 61 homicide victims last year, a decrease from the previous year and the lowest number since current records began in 1976. Police have identified the accused for all of the 60 cases, the Scottish government reported.
The statistics reflect similar trends to previous years, with the majority of cases taking place in a house or flat (63%) and between victims and accused that were known to one another (70%).
Knives and other sharp objects were used in 38% of homicides – the lowest level for that category since current records began. Drink and drugs were factors in more than half of all cases.
Commenting on the figures, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said that the government is continuing efforts to encourage people to drink less alcohol. At the same time, the national drugs strategy is having an effect and problem drug use is falling, particularly among young people.
The government is also working to further reduce knife crime and to tackle the problem of domestic abuse in Scotland, the justice secretary added.
Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone welcomed the continued reduction in homicides but acknowledged that each number still represents a person whose life has been taken. He said that officers are working every day to reduce not only homicides but all forms of crime, especially violent crimes.